Pac-12 Passes Reform For Student-Athletes

The 64 schools under the Power 5 blanket have already began instituting reform under autonomy which was voted (16-2) in August, allowing the most powerful NCAA member institutions the ability to write many of their own rules.

The University of Texas was the first to officially announce an increase in cost of attendance and stipends for its student-athletes up to $5,000. This is in addition to the $5,000 in compensation for use of likeness, names, etc., to be capped at $10,000 combined. The compensation would be held in a trust fund and dispersed when eligibility has expired, or when the student-athlete graduates.

Its reform set the stage for other schools and conferences to act quickly, especially considering National Signing Day is in February. Recruits could potentially begin weighing their decisions heavily on what schools have student-athlete welfare listed as a top priority.

Yesterday, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott announced that all 12 of its member schools had come to an agreement on radical reform, which included many of the changes proposed to the Power 5 conferences back in May.

The legislation will be gradually phased in, but the primary point of interest at this time is increasing stipends by $2,000-$5,000. However, this will vary per college and budget, and will take an official vote in January by the Power 5’s and 15 student-athlete representatives — three per conference.

Regarding scholarships, Pac-12 reform includes a guarantee of four-year scholarships across all sports, as long as the student-athlete maintains his/her good standing. Any athlete who transfers within the conference will have his/her scholarships available immediately following the transfer. Furthermore, any student-athlete who leaves their school before completion of four years (even if it’s to declare for a professional sport such as the NBA or NFL), will be able to use the remainder of their educational expenses if they choose to return.

The conference set the bar on its final order of business, offering current and former-student-athletes who sustained injuries during their time at their respective institutions with complete medical care up to four years after they’ve left.

Of course, these items do come with a timetable.

Four-year guaranteed scholarships will take effect in the 2015-16 school year, and returning former student-athletes in good standing will receive educational expenses starting in 2016-17. This will give Pac-12 member institutions sufficient time to allocate funding and make adjustments to their budgets to accommodate the new reform, and fine tune the necessary language.

 

*Section Photo credit to Christian Peterson, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kyle Terada, USA Today Sports. 

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